Let the fantasy games begin

By on September 19, 2007

There are two outs in the bottom of the seventh at Fenway Park. My beloved Yankees are leading the Sox by two runs in an epic regular season battle between two of the biggest rivals in sports. It’s only a regular season game, but every game counts.

Mike Lowell steps to the plate and absolutely crushes the ball to a gap in left field, giving Boston the lead.

Normally I would be devastated, but at this particular moment I couldn’t be any happier. Lowell’s double seals my fantasy baseball team’s victory over “The Great Hambino’s.” My squad is now in a first place tie that clinched a playoff berth and cemented my place in “The League of Ultimate Beasts.”

Welcome to the world of fantasy sports. A world where even the biggest fans find themselves rooting against their real team in favor of another: their fantasy one.

Fantasy sports are quickly gaining popularity each year. The fantasy sports trade association estimates that more than 16 million adults over the age of 18 played fantasy sports in 2006. There’s a reason for the craze.

“In regular sports, it’s just your favorite team competing against another,” Todd Wolak, a junior finance major said. “With fantasy, you create your team, and you compete against your friends. It’s great.”

The thought of myself, a longtime Yankee fan, rooting for the enemy, the Red Sox, drives me crazy. I hated myself for days. But sometimes your fantasy team is more important than your real one. It’s not all about winning money or bragging rights either. There are other elements involved.

You pick your team at the beginning of the sport’s season, hoping to win the league title.

Hours upon hours are spent researching players. Every aspect of a player’s game is dissected to predict who will have the best season. The ultimate goal is to have a balanced team and find the best sleeper picks, players that are not expected to do well but prove people wrong. If these players do well, you’ve done your job.

“It makes you feel smarter than everyone else if your players perform,” Peter D’Alauro, a junior journalism major said. “You feel like you’re a general manager of a real team. It’s much more personalized.”

The satisfaction is incredible when a player you chose does well, especially if they were a late round pick. Lowell was hitting .321 with 103 runs batted in through Sunday. Mission accomplished.

But it doesn’t end with baseball.

As fantasy football leagues start up, players will become household names, girlfriends will be ignored, and valuable time will be spent looking up stats instead of studying.

“In the beginning of the season I spent way too much time just analyzing players and looking up stats on my computer,” Stuart Easton, a sophomore communications major said.

As I glanced around my biology class last week, I noticed many students brought laptops to a class that does not require them–fantasy football season has officially begun.

“It can be bad if you’re in class and you’re checking stats and not listening” Easton said. “Some people go way over the top”.

Let the games begin.


About Steve Nicastro